Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, whose lead in the last week’s Democratic primary is shrinking, lit into his challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Wednesday for taking their ballot dispute to court.
“You can’t just call people crooks and say that they’re committing illegal acts,” Rangel told supporters in Harlem, according to the New York Daily News
. “One of my opponents went to court and alleged all these things.”
Rangel even criticized how Espaillat’s team celebrated — or didn’t celebrate — the July 4th holiday. "As you can see, they still don’t feel comfortable enough to just go and have a good time and watch the fireworks,” he said. “I thought this would be an appropriate time to say, thank God for this system and those people who work hard to make this system work.”
The primary was held last Tuesday, and Rangel now holds an 802 vote lead over Espaillat. But there are still 2,000 absentee and other ballots to count. Espaillat originally filed a lawsuit asking that the vote-counting be closely monitored. Then on Tuesday, the Espaillat team refiled its suit, pressing for a recount and possibly even a new election.
On Wednesday, Rangel said everything went fine with the city Board of Election workers who counted ballots last week, as they were “under surveillance, by my team, their team, and everyone else.”
The 21-term, embattled congressman urged his backers to keep its faith in the city’s Board of Elections. “Don’t knock the system. It’s all we have,” he said.
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